Hyderabad-based NGO uses Virtual Reality to fight sex trafficking

The film ‘Notes to My Father’ serves as the first step towards raising awareness on human trafficking.

By Author   |   Published: 12th Oct 2017   12:05 am Updated: 12th Oct 2017   12:12 am
Sex Trafficking
IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE: The film revolves around the story of real-life trafficking survivor Ramadevi and her father Kullayappa

Hyderabad: The term Virtual Reality (VR) usually conjures up images of video game consoles and other immersive visuals in the mind. Now, a Hyderabad-based NGO has gone a step ahead and is using the same technology to fight sex trafficking.

With the issue now being a major crisis with deep roots in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the NGO, My Choices Foundation (MCF), has partnered with Oculus VR For Good to present what could be the world’s first VR documentary on sex trafficking, ‘Notes to My Father’.

According to a study done by MCF, it is estimated that there are 20 million commercial sex workers in India, and around 80 per cent of these, i.e. 16 million women, are victims of sex trafficking.

“This alarming figure begs for people to take notice of the growing criminal industry of the trade of human beings and ‘Notes to My Father’ serves as the first step towards awareness about human trafficking,” they said.

The 11-minute documentary film revolves around the story of real-life trafficking survivor Ramadevi and her father Kullayappa. “Through ‘Notes to My Father’ we wanted to educate India, and the world at large on the issue of sex-trafficking and believed that using the immersive medium of VR was one of the most powerful ways to help people feel deeply connected to the cause,” Hannah Norling, Head of Marketing and Communications, MCF and one of the film’s producers said.

In the film, the victim narrates to her father the horrors of being trafficked as she recounts her abduction-to-escape journey that spans the States of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. “By telling the story of a survivor through the connection with her father, we aim to highlight the very real hope that trafficking can be prevented if families in at-risk areas are aware,” Norling said.

The film has been directed by documentary filmmaker Jayisha Patel, who has previously directed films on subjects like the vigilante group of rape victims who train in karate and other forms of self-defence to fight sexual harassment.